Undocumented vs. Illegal Migrant: Towards Terminological Coherence

Undocumented vs. Illegal Migrant: Towards Terminological Coherence

Mila Paspalanova

Idioma original:

Resumen

This article offers a terminological refl ection on the expression “illegal immigrant.”
In particular, it argues against the arbitrary choice of terminology used to refer to
undocumented migration in academic and scientifi c texts. On the basis of certain
legal, linguistic, and sociopolitical concerns, it suggests that the use of “illegal migrant/
alien” should be seriously reconsidered and replaced with alternative terms, such as
“undocumented” or “irregular immigrant,” which are both terminologically correct
and lack the negative social implications of the phrase “illegal immigrant/alien” or
“clandestine alien”.

RESUMEN

El propósito de este artículo es ofrecer una refl exión terminológica acerca de la expresión
“migrantes ilegales”. En particular, trata sobre el uso arbitrario de la terminología
empleada para referirse a la migración indocumentada en textos académicos y científi
cos. Tomando en consideración argumentos jurídicos, lingüísticos y sociopolíticos,
se señala que expresiones como “migrante ilegal” o “migrante clandestino” deben
considerarse seriamente y sustituirse con términos alternativos, tales como “migrante
irregular” o “migrante indocumentado”, los que, además de ser conceptualmente
correctos, son términos que evitan las implicaciones sociales negativas que tienen las
otras expresiones.

Palabras clave: undocumented migrants; irregular migrants; terminology; conceptual analysis; illegal migrants


Abstract

This article offers a terminological refl ection on the expression “illegal immigrant.” In particular, it argues against the arbitrary choice of terminology used to refer to undocumented migration in academic and scientifi c texts. On the basis of certain legal, linguistic, and sociopolitical concerns, it suggests that the use of “illegal migrant/ alien” should be seriously reconsidered and replaced with alternative terms, such as “undocumented” or “irregular immigrant,” which are both terminologically correct and lack the negative social implications of the phrase “illegal immigrant/alien” or “clandestine alien”.

 

RESUMEN


El propósito de este artículo es ofrecer una refl exión terminológica acerca de la expresión “migrantes ilegales”. En particular, trata sobre el uso arbitrario de la terminología empleada para referirse a la migración indocumentada en textos académicos y científi cos. Tomando en consideración argumentos jurídicos, lingüísticos y sociopolíticos, se señala que expresiones como “migrante ilegal” o “migrante clandestino” deben considerarse seriamente y sustituirse con términos alternativos, tales como “migrante irregular” o “migrante indocumentado”, los que, además de ser conceptualmente correctos, son términos que evitan las implicaciones sociales negativas que tienen las otras expresiones.

Keywords: undocumented migrants; irregular migrants; terminology; conceptual analysis; illegal migrants


Texto completo:

Idioma original


Referencias

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Fecha de recepción: 7 de mayo de 2007

Fecha de aceptación: 3 de septiembre de 2007



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